Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
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2009 Parliament


First held in Chicago in 1893, the Parliament of the World’s Religions brings together the world’s religious and spiritual communities, their leaders and their followers to a gathering where peace, diversity and sustainability are discussed and explored in the context of interreligious understanding and cooperation.

As the world’s largest interreligious gathering, the Parliament

  • Convenes religious and civil leaders and people of faith, spirit and goodwill from at least or more than 80 countries
  • Fosters interreligious, civil and cross-cultural dialogue on important local, national, and global issues
  • Invites over 10,000 participants to work together for a just, peaceful, and harmonious society
  • Has global appeal, covering social concerns including understanding and respecting diversity, peace and Indigenous reconciliation
  • Engages worldwide religious, spiritual, secular, environmental, business and educational leaders to seek commitment and practical solutions through dialogue.
  • Promotes and encourages social cohesion within societies locally and across the world.

THE 2009 PARLIAMENT OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Since 1993, a Parliament of the World’s Religions has convened every five years in a major international city (Chicago 1993, Cape Town 1999, Barcelona 2004). Sponsored by the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, the 2009 Parliament will take place in Melbourne, Australia. A multi-religious, multi-lingual, and multicultural city, Melbourne offers an ideal location for the 2009 Parliament. Culturally vibrant and global in vision, Melbourne and Victoria are home to indigenous and Aboriginal spiritualities as well as the major world religions – Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism among others. Over 10,000 participants will come to Melbourne for the Parliament. The 2009 Parliament turned worldwide attention to Melbourne as a destination city with international appeal. The Parliament continued for seven days with approximately 450 events including keynote addresses, seminars, conferences, debates, performances, concerts and exhibitions.

Parliament participants  worked with others and within their own traditions to craft faithful responses to:

  • indigenous reconciliation
  • global poverty and global warming
  • environmental care and degradation
  • education of the young and the challenges of social disengagement
  • voluntary and forced migration
  • artistic expression and spirituality and
  • the value of sports

In today’s world, understanding between people of different traditions is not optional. It is essential. The 2009 Parliament gave people of faith, spirit and goodwill new reason to say that peace is still possible.

WHY A PARLIAMENT?

‘There will be no world peace until there is peace among the religions.’
Hans Küng

The Parliament engaged religious and spiritual communities at the Melbourne Parliament by:

  • Focussing on Indigenous and Aboriginal spiritualities at the Parliament to honour these communities and encourage reconciliation.
  • Facilitating cooperation between all of Australia’s religious and spiritual Communities.
  • Enabling religious and spiritual communities to increase social capital by building lasting cross-cultural networks of understanding and cooperation.
  • Challenging religious and spiritual leaders to craft new responses and solutions to religious extremism, wherever it occurs and increase human security.
  • Helping religious and spiritual communities to confront homegrown terrorism and violence at the local level.

The Parliament educates for global peace and justice by:

  • calling people of faith, spirit and goodwill to understand and respect differences.
  • exploring religious conflict and globalisation as defining challenges in the twenty-first century and provides tools for responding effectively.
  • creating cross-cultural networks that empower peace and reconciliation.
  • helping participants identify religious and spiritual responses to local, regional, and international challenges to peace and justice.
  • sensitising religious and spiritual communities to racial, ethnic and religious violence and provides strategies for defusing tensions.

The Parliament engages civil society by:

  • effectively mobilising religious and spiritual communities for a positive response in times of national and global crisis.
  • exploring the cultivation and governance of religious and ethnic diversity.
  • sensitising political and religious leaders to their responsibility for national social cohesion.
  • helping participants to deal with ethnic and religious tensions.
  • educating civil societies to deal with global and regional issues.

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